Creating Visual Experiences Through Sightlines — Part 1: The Need for Collaboration

abstract-eyeball_GkPauAqd_L_3000 pix

In a recent article in Church Designer Magazine, author and design leader Chuck Hultstrand provides an excellent overview of the key elements required to create visual experiences through the use of integrated sightlines. With this article as our inspiration, we will use his writings as a launch pad for a series of upcoming blogs.

  1. The first, this post, will address the importance of sightlines and the need for architects and builders to collaborate with AV designers during the construction process.
  2. The second post will discuss how to use sightlines in Worship Centers to enhance the worship experience for church congregations.
  3. The third post will discuss how to use sightlines in classrooms and training rooms to ensure maximum learning opportunities.

So, just what are sightlines? Sightlines are hypothetical lines from someone’s eye to what is seen (used especially with reference to good or bad visibility). These are any of the lines of sight between the spectators and the stage or playing area in a theater, stadium, etc. And obviously, for any AV professional, they are extremely important consideration points in the AV design process.

The Need for Collaboration – In the 2005 “Audiovisual Best Practices” guide created by the International Communications Industry, the authors state on p. 18, “The mission for the AV professional is to create audiovisual environments that work — and work well. This is more difficult today than ever before. AV is no longer an add-on to the building project. AV communications systems are increasingly a part of today’s building types. They are critical to the workflow and success of the environments we hope to create. AV technology use varies from simple room signage to full mission-critical operation communications centers.”

The authors continue with, “In the days of overheads and slides, AV professionals dealt almost exclusively with other AV pros or end-users (who were also technicians). In a pro-AV integration project today, people from different disciplines are involved — many who are unfamiliar with AV “techies.” In addition to AV consultants, integrators, manufacturers and technicians, an AV project also combines the skills of architects, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, building facility managers and a variety of specialty consultants.”

AV design and integration requires teamwork. “The work of AV professionals during the course of an AV integration project has more impact than ever before on the other building industry designers and contractors. This dynamic requires teamwork. The creation of a technology-enhanced building requires a team made up of professionals from the AV industry and the other disciplines. A critical part of that team effort is learning about the different professions and the language they speak.”

AV integration is also project management. “In many ways, contemporary AV integration is really more about project management and procedure than it is about audio and video or design and construction. It is about ways in which a project is handled and how each of the various professionals performs a critical role in the implementation of an AV system. Most, in fact, are there from start to finish and, despite their various job functions, are members of the same team. The AV industry depends upon this teamwork, or collaborative project process, that results not only in satisfied clients (the owners and end-users), but also fosters the level of professional involvement that improves the industry as a whole.”

Next Steps – In our next blog post, we’ll take a closer look at Chuck Hultstrand’s insightful article about Worship Centers and how to work with a design team to enhance a worship experience and engage a congregation.

Hoping to expand your line of sight!

Tony, the AV guy